Whether you are a building expert or just want to paint your facade, you will always need scaffolding. But the usefulness of it is not limited to these uses.
Scaffolding can also be used to make installations at height, and why not to build or install fixed planters for your hanging flowers. As soon as you do work at height, you will use scaffolding. This is why it is useful to know how to mount scaffolding while respecting the inherent safety rules.
The different types of scaffolding
The choice of scaffolding depends on the use made of it, but other considerations must also be taken into account, in particular the weight that it will support with several people or more or less heavy tools, the height working with a multi-storey building or only 2m away, the working environment, with loose ground or conversely concrete floor, etc.
But in general, a distinction is made between fixed scaffolding and mobile scaffolding. We also find suspended scaffolding, stair scaffolding and, for the practical side, we can also opt for folding scaffolding.
Fixed scaffolding and mobile scaffolding
Fixed scaffolding is, as its name suggests, scaffolding that remains in place for the duration of a construction site. These are, for example, these large scaffoldings that are found on the facades of large buildings for the renovation of these. The main advantage of this type of scaffolding is that it can reach heights of several floors. The scaffolding is fixed to the ground, but also fixed to the building, which gives more safety for the workers.
Conversely, the mobile scaffolding can be moved as needed. It usually has wheels so it can be moved more easily. But this mobility requires precautions and the height remains limited to avoid the risk of tipping. The wheels are not enough to keep the structure in place. This is why mobile scaffolding has stabilizers at its base to keep it in place.
Leg scaffolding and suspended scaffolding
A leg scaffold is a scaffold that rests on the ground. It can be fixed or mobile. Suspended scaffolding is hung with ropes from the top of a building. This last type is frequently used for cleaning windows that are difficult to reach because of the height, or because the windows do not open inwards. Another advantage of suspended scaffolding is that it is independent of the quality of the ground. But strict safety rules must be strictly adhered to with suspended scaffolding.
How to erect your scaffolding?
A scaffold is made up of basic elements, but depending on the type of each of them, additional elements are likely to be added. It is then necessary to pay attention to the structure of the ground to avoid any risk of tipping of the scaffolding.
The basic elements of scaffolding
The scaffolding is first made up of a frame which can be metal or wooden. There are fewer and fewer wooden scaffolds and metal tubes are the most used to erect scaffolding. To ensure the protection of workers, transverse tubes constitute guardrails.
Then there are the platforms intended to accommodate the workers during the works. These platforms can also be made of metal or wood, usually thick plywood to support the weight of the workers. A ladder provides access to the platform and to the different floors of the scaffolding.
When the height is quite substantial, a stabilizer is necessary to ensure safety. For fixed scaffolding, fixings to the frame must be provided so that it remains firmly in place. For mobile scaffolding, wheels allow movement as needed.
How to erect scaffolding
For a scaffolding of feet, it is necessary to start with the base. Remember to check that the ground is not too soft at the risk of seeing the scaffolding fall at any time. For muddy and loose ground, plan to level the ground with gravel for better stabilization. Also put under each support pillar a ground plate. The fixing of each element is then done gradually, so that the base can support the entire structure. Always start from the bottom.
For fixed scaffolding, you must tie the scaffolding to the building as you go up in height. For a mobile scaffolding, you must put the stabilizers as soon as you are more than 2m away, a question of security.
How to secure and what rules to follow?
The first thing to do is to define a safe zone. If possible, put a ribbon to limit access to the surroundings of the scaffolding only to the workers. Also avoid letting children circulate around the scaffolding. Access must be by ladders and ramps only to avoid falls and injuries.
The safety rules to follow are never to overload the scaffolding. Take no risks and limit the number of workers and materials supported by the structure. Workers must then wear helmets at all times. For high heights, despite the presence of guardrails, it is always necessary to provide a harness to avoid any fatal fall.
When a person is on a mobile scaffolding platform, never try to move it. It is also better to avoid going under the scaffolding when a person is using the scaffolding. It is just as important to wear grippy boots to prevent slipping. Wearing gloves may sometimes be necessary, both for the work and for climbing the scaffolding.
Permanent cleaning is part of the safety rules. Do not leave liquid residues on the platform or on the frames. Power lines are also a potential hazard. Allow a reasonable distance of 3 to 5 meters. This distance of 5 meters is imperative when it comes to a high voltage line.